I’m a fan of Publicola, but they’ve fallen into the same trap as much of the rest of the Seattle media on the McGinn and the tunnel. From a piece about Peter Hahn signing the Environmental Impact Statement for the tunnel (I assume by Josh, but it’s the Afternoon Jolt, so it doesn’t have a name attached, and he and Erica do the same thing).
The move could signify that McGinn’s administration has decided to back off (for now, anyway) from its single-minded opposition to the controversial project. The McGinn administration, mindful perhaps of polling that has linked his bad numbers to his nonstop focus on the tunnel, has been notably quiet about the tunnel these days. This even-keeled move will definitely draw applause from McGinn’s establishment opponents who consider him an obstructionist.
First off, you think McGinn’s establishment opponents give a fuck about policy? Nobody gives him credit for being bold on the Youth and Family initiative. Nobody thanks him for filling potholes quickly. Nobody gives him credit for a budget that didn’t cut social services. Despite the fact that he salted the roads during the snow storm like his establishment opponents demanded (and I think it’s bad policy, but it is clearly the position of Seattle insiders) he doesn’t get credit. So, no, I don’t think anyone will care that this time instead of asking for and being given more time by the state DOT that this time his people just signed it when their concerns were met.
But to the main point, McGinn has always been able to walk and chew gum (see the paragraph above, for examples of other things he does, and it doesn’t even get into the things that the establishment is against, but that deserve more coverage). He’s never been single minded about the tunnel. He’s always talked about other things. I’m sorry, but it’s been the media, including Publicola, who who see McGinn only through one highway project instead of through his budget and other policies.
Perhaps that’s why he has to stop talking about it. Because we have media who can’t stop talking about how much they’re over talking about the Viaduct replacement. The rap on him has always been that he’s a 1 issue candidate or a 1 issue mayor. But that’s never been the case. He’s always been able to chew gum and walk at the same time. He just needs an audience that won’t obsess about the gum thing.